Joy Fielding

The Bad Daughter

Ballantine Books / 2018

What first appears to be a random home invasion reveals a family's dark secrets in this domestic ticking-clock suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of See Jane Run.

A hostile relationship with her sister and a complicated past with her father's second wife have kept Robin estranged from her family for many years. But when her father's new family is attacked in their house, with her father, his wife, and young daughter in critical condition in the hospital, she returns home to await their fate and hopefully mend fences. It looks like a random robbery gone awry, but as Robin spends more time with her family members, she learns they all had their secrets -- and one of those secrets may have put them all in horrible danger.

What Critics Say

“L.A. therapist Robin Davis had been happy to leave her dysfunctional family years earlier after her motherdied. Her father, millionaire developer Greg Davis, was a habitual philanderer who subsequently marriedRobin’s former best friend, Tara, who had been engaged to Robin’s younger brother, Alec. Then tragedystrikes: Greg, Tara, and Cassidy, Tara’s 12-year-old daughter, are badly wounded in what is assumed tohave been a house invasion. Tara dies, Greg remains unconscious after being shot in the head, andCassidy miraculously recovers and blames the attack on two (or maybe three) muscular men wearing skimasks. Robin leaves her practice and fiancé, lawyer Blake Upton, to join her older sister, Melanie, at theirfamily home to deal with the aftermath of the attack. Robin uses her training and shows backbone asanswers become clear. Fielding, a sure hand at psychological suspense, amps up tension nicely here as the narrative reaches a high-energy conclusion.”
Michele Leber, The Booklist
“In the aftermath of a horrific crime, an LA psychologist confronts her own family dysfunction. Robin, a newly minted therapist, suffers from panic attacks and a serious patient deficit. After a frantic call from her estranged sister, Melanie, informing her that their father's much younger second wife, Tara, has been shot and killed, Robin returns to her remote hometown, Red Bluff, California. Their father, Greg, a wealthy developer, and Tara's 12-year-old daughter, Cassidy, were also shot and are hospitalized. Greg's highly conditional love has scarred both Melanie and Robin, and his many affairs, they feel, hastened their mother's death. If that wasn't bad enough, Greg stole Tara, Robin's best friend, from his son Alec, to whom she was engaged, and showered on Cassidy the affection denied his daughters. Melanie still resents Robin because she got away, whereas Melanie was trapped in Red Bluff by her low paying job, lack of education, and, not least, her autistic son, Landon. The sisters are hounded by Sheriff Prescott, who's grasping for suspects. The only eyewitnesses are Greg, who is comatose and moribund, and Cassidy, who has been mute for several days. Suddenly, though, Cassidy talks, revealing that two muscular men wearing ski masks had entered Greg and Tara's newly completed mansion and attacked the family. Melanie's sardonic sniping and rueful quips (as entertaining to the reader as they are annoying to all around her) aren't helping, nor is Landon's slacker friend, Kenny, who keeps dropping by to inquire about Cassidy. Greg's condition poses another quandary: who will take custody of Cassidy? Robin's attorney boyfriend, Blake, arrives to allay Robin's suspicions about his infidelities and to lend his legal skills to the investigation, as Prescott targets Alec and even Landon as persons of interest. So expert is Fielding at seeding clues that readers will never see the final plot twist coming. The acutely portrayed family dynamics lend pathos and a certain schadenfreudian frisson to the proceedings. An author who knows her way around suburban angst.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Fielding’s latest is riveting enough to keep readers turning the pages. With an intricate plot shrouded in mystery and laden with psychological suspense, Fielding will hook readers in. Her expert, honest storytelling carefully reveals the inner-workings of Robin’s mind andheart while providing a chilling story full of twists and turns. Add the gritty, authentic characters and the gripping tensions between them and readers will be enthralled. Robin is genuinely flawed and vulnerable as she grapples with her familial relationships, and her journey to self-discovery and healing is worth the read. With a high-stakes, satisfying surprising conclusion, Fielding caps off another mind-bending, spellbinding thriller.

Therapist Robin receives a startling phone call from her estranged sister Melanie. Their father, stepmother and stepsister were shot ina home invasion. The news leaves Robin stunned. It also puts Robin on edge because it means returning home to Red Bluff, CA, andthe family she eagerly le behind. Robin hopes her stay will be short, but as her father clings to life, she finds herself trying to find the person responsible for his shooting. It becomes clear that she might have to be there for the long haul. As she faces the stress of dealing with her dysfunconal family, Robin finds herself stepping in to help support them through this tragedy, especially her young stepsister. Soon Robin finds herself mired in dark family secrets as she grapples with truths that are revealed about her family and the shoong that occurred.”
Melanie Bates - Published on RT Book Reviews
“Los Angeles therapist Robin Davis, the star of this suspenseful if workmanlike thriller from bestseller Fielding (She’s Not There), hasn’t been in touch with most of her family for years—until someone shoots her father, autocratic property developer Greg Davis; Greg’s much-younger second wife, Tara, who’s also Robin’s former best friend and her brother Alec’s onetime fiancée; and Tara’s 12-year-old daughter, Cassidy, in an apparently botched robbery at their house in Red Bluff, Calif. All are in critical condition at the local hospital, and upon returning home, Robin finds the situation worse than she could have imagined. Perpetually angry big sister Melanie, mother of an 18-year-old autistic son, has turned even more caustic; the townspeople regard the tragedy as the most riveting spectator sport outside of the annual rodeo; and Alec, the only relative to whom Robin remains attached, seems to be the sheriff’s prime suspect. Though few of the characters transcend soap opera quality, Fielding throws in enough twists to keep the reader turning the pages until the bombshell final shocker.”
Publishers Weekly